Murder of Elizabeth Olten
Alyssa Bustamante is an American who, at the age of 15, was convicted of murdering her 9-year-old neighbor Elizabeth Olten in St. Martins, Missouri.
Elizabeth Olten, aged nine, lived four houses from Bustamante. On October 21, 2009, Bustamante convinced her younger sister to take Olten to the woods near their homes for a walk. Arriving there, Bustamante strangled Olten, cut her throat and stabbed her in the chest. Bustamante then buried Olten’s body in the grave she dug 5 days before in the forest behind her house and covered the grave with leaves.
Alyssa Dylin Bustamante’s grandparents, Gary and Karen Brooke, took custody of her and three younger siblings in 2002 because her mother, Michelle, was a drug addict and her father, Caesar, was serving time in prison. Friends began to notice changes in Alyssa around 2007, when she was admitted to the hospital after a suicide attempt.
On her YouTube profile, she listed haircut as her hobby.
After the murder, Bustamante wrote in her diary:
I just fucking killed a man. I strangled them, slit their throats and stabbed them, now they’re dead. I don’t know what to feel now. It was amazing. Once you get over the “oh my god, I can’t do this” feeling, it becomes quite enjoyable. Although now I’m a little nervous and shaking. Kay, I have to go to church.”
She then attended a church dance (Bustamante was active in the local church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) while the police searched for Olten.
Trial, conviction and appeal
Bustamante first appeared in court on November 17, 2009, where she pleaded not guilty and was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal offense (due to the use of a knife in the murder). In January 2012, she agreed to a deal with lesser charges of second-degree murder and armed criminal act. A few weeks later, she was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole and a consecutive term of 30 years.
Her appeal against the sentence was dismissed in March 2014.
The victim’s mother, Patricia Preis, agreed to settle her lawsuit against Bustamante. Under the terms of the agreement, Bustamante was to disclose to Preuss any compensation from the cover of the case.
Alyssa has been seen by several mental health professionals who all testify that she suffers from major depressive disorder and borderline personality disorder.
In popular culture
Alyssa’s case was featured in Deadly Women magazine, and on October 19, 2012, a thriller movie based in part on the case, titled My Name Is ‘A’ by Anonymous, was released. This murder was the subject of an episode of Kids Who Kill (Season 1, Episode 5).